February started with snow and ice in my neck of the woods and I’ve enjoyed some lovely wintery walks with Freddie the Westie, my new best friend.
As the weather got colder I’ve thinking about warmer climes and was pleased to see that readers were too, as my novel, Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me went up the charts to being a #1 best-seller on Amazon again. Huge thanks to everyone who is buying this book and enjoying a slice of sunshine escapism on those cold wintery days.
I’m off to the USA this month and can’t wait for my visit. I’ll be wrapping up warm and taking lots of photos and will share my trip with you in the next newsletter.
I had a lovely day out at The Barn at Scorton – an interesting venue if you are in the North West. I was there to interview the owners of this business, located in a pretty picturesque village. I write food related articles for a Lancashire magazine and this place is a real find. Wonderful food, served all day and an eclectic mix of gifts alongside a garden centre with some unusual plants. I can recommend a visit, if you are in the area.
Another find on my foodie haunts was on a recent trip to my favourite county of Cumbria in the Lake District. Many of you know that I love to have a tipple of gin occasionally and enjoy sampling flavoured gins. Gin seems to have exploded onto the beverage scene in the last year or so and I am told that there are now more alcohol distilleries in England than in Scotland. Imagine my delight when I came across a shop that sells over 500 different gins! Chestnut House in Pooley Bridge, Cumbria is brilliant little shop with knowledgeable staff (thank you Darren!) who encourage you to sample their delicious drinks.
Warm and fuzzy from several tasters, and with a bottle to take home safely tucked up in the boot of the car, I enjoyed a glorious walk around Lake Ullswater, one of my favourite lakes. Cold, windy and so atmospheric, with snow on the mountains and that divine light that peeks through the clouds on a wintery day and sparkles off the water. As William Wordsworth said about Cumbria, “The loveliest spot that man hath found.”
Be sure to follow APRICOT PLOTS this month. This author group, that I a member of, is running an event for readers in the build up to Valentine’s Day and there will be some great give-aways and interaction. I am hosting on 7th February and want to know all about your worst date ever. There’s a box of chocolates for the one that amuses me the most.
COMPETITION DRUM ROLL…
The winner of last month’s competition is Linda Gawthrop who correctly named the chef in my novel Jungle Rock .
Many congratulations Linda – a Bertie Bear is heading your way.
This month’s competition is for a signed copy of my latest book plus chocolates to enjoy while you are reading. Simply name the county in England where my novel The Best Boomerville Hotel is set. Can you name the county? (Hint – my favourite county). Please email your answer to me: firstname.lastname@example.org The winner will be announced in my March newsletter.
I took a step back in time a few days ago, when I visited the Westminster Tearooms in Southport. This delightful venue is a 1930s time warp and an absolute delight.
I was lost in time for a couple of hours as I listened to gentle background music, reflective of the era and ate a delicious afternoon tea.
The ladies on the next table were celebrating a birthday with glasses of Babycham.
Were Babycham glasses really so small? Babycham was launched in the United Kingdom in 1953 and in later years when I was growing up, I remember it being a celebratory drink with the ladies in my family.
As the clock on the mantlepiece chimed the quarter hour in the Westminster Tearooms, I felt that I’d stepped into a bygone period. It was delightful.
I do love afternoon tea, especially one as special as this with cucumber sandwiches and scones. What’s your favourite afternoon tea?
If you’ve got a good book to recommend do get in touch and I’ll share your thoughts here. I’m reading Magnolia House by Angela Barton at the moment. It’s her new novel and I’m loving it.
Have a brilliant February, lovely readers and followers.
Stay warm wherever you are and keep well and happy.